Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Sausage and Lentils With Fennel

Sausage And Lentils With Fennel
Lentils are a grain that I incorporate frequently in my meal preparation. They blend so well with so many foods and meats and have a multitude of ways to prepare.
1 cup dried lentils (preferably French 
   green lentils; 7 oz.)
4 1/2 cups cold water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 medium fennel bulb (stalks removed 
   and fronds reserved)
3 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, cut into 1/4" dice
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 1/4 pound sweet Italian sausage links
3 Tablespoons flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar or to taste
Extra Virgin olive oil for drizzling
Bring lentils, water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil in a 2 quart heavy saucepan, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until lentils are just tender but not falling apart, 12 to 15 minutes.
While lentils simmer, cut fennel bulb into 1/4" dice and chop enough fennel fronds to measure 2 Tablespoons. Heat 3 Tablespoons olive oil in a 3 to 4 quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then stir in carrot, onion, fennel buld, fennel seeds, and remaining teaspoon salt. Cover pan and cook stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile lightly prick sausages in a couple of places with tip of a sharp knife, then cook sausages in remaining 1/2 Tablespoon oil in a 10" skillet over moderately high heat turning occasionally, until golden brown and cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board.
Drain cooked lentils in a sieve set over a bowl and reserve cooking water. Stir lentils into vegetables with enough cooking water to moisten (1/4 to 1/2 cup) and cook over moderate heat until heated through. Stir in parsley, pepper 1 Tablespoon vinegar and 1 Tablespoon fennel fronds. Season with vinegar and salt.
Cut sausages diagonally into 1/2" thick slices. Serve lentils topped with sausages and sprinkled with remaining fennel fronds. Drizzle all over with extra-virgin olive. Serves 4 Main Courses

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